Eat the Rainbow this Summer

In nutritional terms, absence of color often equals absence of nutrients and nutritional value. There are some exceptions, but most of the foods that are white are poor choices for today’s health-minded person. As a matter of fact, one of the ways to assure a healthy diet is to include a wide variety of different colored fruits, vegetables, and grains. The vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables come from ingredients that contain valuable phytonutrients that include antioxidants, vitamins, and other minerals. Antioxidants help protect the body against aging and disease by ridding the body of toxic substances called free radicals. Vitamins and minerals promote health and decrease the risk of disease. Swap the White for Whole Many foods without color such as white breads, white rice, sugar, and salt pose problems for long term health. There are several reasons to [...]

Keep the Party Going! Food Safety

  The air is warmer, the sun is shining, and cookouts are quickly approaching. Did you know that approximately 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses each year.  So, don’t commit these party fouls with these common food safety mistakes this summer.  Keep the party in the yard and not running to the restroom! Mistake 1: Washing your meat before cooking. Wash your hands, not meat or poultry. Washing meat or poultry can spread germs to countertops and other items in your kitchen like fruit, which can make you ill. Washing your hands not only keeps you safe but protects your guests as well. A study found that “only 5 percent of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.” Grab that soap and be sure to wash [...]

Nutrition and Mental Health

  Eating healthy can help us to look and feel our best physically. But little is discussed about how the food we eat can affect our mental health. Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods can help us to feel more alert and think clearly. Well-balanced meals and snacks can also help us to concentrate and improve attention span. On the other hand, eating a diet high in unhealthy foods can affect our brain in a negative way. An inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impair decision making skills, and slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate or lead to stress and depression. Stress and Depression It has been shown that sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to the Academy of [...]

Flavors of the Season: Spring Produce

Fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year round. In season fruits and vegetables are usually more affordable and make great additions to meals and snacks. Spring offers a variety of fruits and veggies including apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, collard greens, kiwi, pineapple, spinach, strawberries, etc. Produce has many health benefits but unfortunately most people are not meeting the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies each day.  In fact, research has found that, “just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations.” Not only are fruits and vegetables delicious but having a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Reflect on your habits. Where can you add an additional serving of produce? Can you add a piece of fruit as a [...]

Stress Eating

The strongest food cravings seem to hit when you are at your weakest point. I’m sure we can all think about a time when the stress of life was piling up, and in turn we coped by eating a pile of cookies. Many people experience stress eating, but making a habit of it can be detrimental to our weight loss goals. There is much power behind the term “stress eating”. Stress, the hormones it releases, and coping strategies involving comfort foods, all can factor into overeating. Research has shown that both stress and weight gain go hand in hand, which is alarming when nearly a fourth of Americans rate their stress as an 8 out of a 10-point scale. So, why do we turn to food in times of stress? Stress Eating, Hunger, and Hormones Appetite can react to stress [...]

Nutrition Review of Meal-Kit Delivery Programs

  Lock us down and Americans will eat it up. Literally! While in quarantine many of us ate like bears preparing for hibernation. More time at home to cook and limited access to grocery stores spawned an explosion of meal-kit delivery programs. Our lead dietitian tried several of them to assess the nutritional value of these “healthy, convenient meals”. Overall, we found these options to be heavy in salt and fat, and low on produce portions. The meals seemed to be kept at a low price-point by substituting processed foods for fruits and vegetables. In several the produce seemed more of a garnish. Upon closer review of each program, we often found that choices classified as “healthy” seemed to have had a very loose definition of health. For example, Marley Spoon has no information on the site as to the [...]

Sleep and Tea

It is ironic that Caffeine Awareness Month is the same as Sleep Awareness Month. Before we plan to hit the pillow, eliminating caffeine within six hours of bedtime is a good idea. Thankfully caffeine-free teas come in several satisfying varieties.  Use these teas to add an herbal benefit toward healthier sleep. Tea and Caffeine Generally, tea has less caffeine than coffee does. But the amount of caffeine varies depending on the way the tea is processed. There are 2 main varieties of tea, Camellia sinensis and Herbal. Camellia sinensis tea, depending on the processing of the leaf, is used to make black, green, and white teas. Camellia sinensis teas vary in caffeine content and can be processed to produce a decaffeinated version. Herbal tea is a combination of any plant life other than the camellia sinensis. Herbal teas do not [...]

Cooking With Fresh Herbs 

  Skip the salt shaker and start adding flavor to your home cooked meals with the help of fresh herbs. Herbs are a delicious and health conscious way to add life to dull dishes, without packing on the sodium from salt. Some of the world’s most renowned chefs swear these versatile leaves are the secret to a perfect dish. Coming in a variety of forms and flavors, herbs are sure to bring delight with every bite. Follow our guide to use more in your own kitchen. With these tips, your friends and family will think you’re a top chef! Basil This clover-like herb is one of the most popular in the United States. Basil comes in a variety of different forms with the most popular being sweet Italian and Thai purple. Adding basil to your dishes will give it a [...]

Don’t be Salty: The Facts on Sodium

The month of February is dedicated to heart health. A heart healthy lifestyle focuses on low sodium foods, a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and regular physical activity. Making small changes to your diet can help support your heart. Let’s focus on some ways to decrease your sodium intake. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but most Americans consume too much sodium. Excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart and kidney disease along with stroke. Check out the following myths and the low sodium shopping list to help you kick excess sodium out of your diet. Myth 1: Sea salt is healthier than table salt. Fact: Sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium.  Limit the use of all types of salt (sea salt, table salt, Himalayan pink [...]

Heart Month-Boosting Soluble Fiber to Knock Down LDL

  February is American Heart Month. There are so many ways to be proactive in taking care of your heart health such as exercising, managing stress, reducing sodium intake, switching to healthy fats, and increasing your soluble fiber intake. Are you wondering to yourself “What is soluble fiber?” Soluble fiber lowers LDL (lousy, bad) cholesterol and is found naturally in many types of foods. Try adding soluble fiber rich foods into your meals to help support your heart. Sources of Soluble Fiber Vegetables Certain fruits and vegetables are higher in soluble fiber than others. Brussels sprouts, carrots, winter squash, broccoli, peas, etc. provide soluble fiber. Be inspired by the rainbow when picking produce. Choose different colors to give your body a variety of nutrients. Try this penne pasta dish that is loaded with soluble rich foods including broccoli and garbanzo [...]